Suicide is not for the spineless nor the weak.
I had plotted to end my life by jumping headfirst into a pit, only to cower at the indifference of the gaping emptiness – maybe I was not tired enough, maybe I still loved life, maybe I still feared death, I do not know for certain what it was that stopped me, but whatever it was, it stopped me.
But the thoughts didn’t cease. They were unending and grew deeper, particularly darker.
And unlike in the movies, I wasn’t heartbroken nor was I in any physical (or inescapable) problem. I was simply despondent from the conflict between my belief and my carnality.
[…] many people think suicide victims were weak, or stupid, or were possessed by some demon, but they are wrong. They are ignorant of the reality we live in – a reality which the suicide victim saw, and cringed at.
THE FORMULA FOR SUICIDE
At some points in our lives, we get faced with disarming challenges that make us question our abilities, importance, and significance; these moments are painful as we behold our powerlessness before the things going on in our lives. We are faced with a harsh reality of weakness and so, we cling unto hope for a better tomorrow. But what if hope fails?
Consider a man whose family was ravaged by a disease, a disease which plucked them one by one until there was none left, bringing him to his knees – begging a seemingly indifferent god who remained deathly silent; or a girl who laid there, struggling, begging, and crying as she got raped […], or the man who gets into a debt that buries him and his family entirely. To such a person, there is no more hope – for the worse has already happened, and the hope for deliverance is gone.
In the face of powerlessness and hopelessness, one finds one conspicuously alluring escape – Death.
Hence, suicide is birthed from hopelessness in the face of powerlessness …when an individual feels powerless about what has happened, is happening, or would happen – it is the result of lack of control over one’s fate.
Suicide = life + (– hope – control)
Dejected, she drinks the poison, he hangs himself and they both enjoy the embrace of Mrs. Death
Suicide is easily the only reasonable thing to do in the mind of a dejected person. They do not see it as cowardly, but in fact, courageous, for it takes unwavering determination to step on a pedal until the car is rammed against a sturdy and indifferent wall…
Suicide is particularly tempting, especially when death promises to be painless, yet affords an escape from the chaos of life – from the pain, the confusion, the powerlessness, and the misery.
The temptation to do something that one has control over – to make a decision that counts. To be able to call the shots. To grab life by the throat and take it for a ride. That is, perhaps, the sweetest of temptations, even if one ends up unconscious and stiff like a plank – the ultimate loss of power and hope.
People don’t kill themselves because they can’t appreciate the good things in their lives, they kill themselves because both “good” and “bad” things happen to them without their say in the matter – especially the “bad”.
Hence, suicide victims, are not victims at all, because they were tired of the way life played out, and perhaps they didn’t want to continue living it and decided to leave, perhaps it was a reasonable choice, perhaps they are the victorious ones – and the living is the victims.
WHY SUICIDE SEEMS STRANGE TO THE MANY
For most people, the thoughts of suicide rarely cross the mind, and so it sounds so abstract, so bizarre, and so foolish that they fail to realize that it is just as easy to slip into the spiral of ceaseless self-destructive thoughts, as it is to spiral into burning lust for a pretty face.
If truly hopelessness and powerlessness are the key ingredients for suicide, it, therefore, means that those things that infuse our lives with the sense of power and hope are exactly the things that prevent us from ruminating in the thoughts of “self-destruction”.
Such things include:
- A stable society (peace)
- An un-rocked belief in a superior being or beings that we think cares about us – Our gods
- People to love and hope for (like family, friends, lovers or pretty strangers)
- A course to live for (maybe freedom, independence, honor, or vengeance)
- The presence of tools to use in solving our problems and providing our needs (money, influence or health)
- And so on…
We find ourselves in a world where life has been tamed. Where there is a robust structure maintaining order; a world so tranquil that we even resent it, seeking chaos in entertainments, in games and movies – seeking something a little bit exciting, a little bit extreme, a little bit shocking.
It appears we all have within us a latent detest for this stable life we now enjoy. Maybe it’s because:
- We now live in a world where we hardly get physically attacked, hence there is no avenue to express violence.
- We get paid for doing a job, hence we don’t get to run around hunting for food.
- Or maybe it’s because we can now insult the leaders to their face and not have our heads chopped off and pinned on a spike, hence it even feels boring mocking authorities.
The stability in our societies has cuddled our minds and made us oblivious to the truly rude indifference of the Planet and ecosystem.
It’s almost unimaginable to think that a flood can come tomorrow and wash off our entire family even though that is common in the world we live in […]
Every day, someone gets drubbed, raped, or killed, and every day someone’s family gets wiped out or suffers fates worse than death […]
The world is filled with starving and diseased children. Nature is bleak and unsympathetic.
Yet people are indifferent to the suffering of their neighbors. People don’t take the time to understand how the other feels or fares.
They get so deluded in their little worlds that they forget about the people outside of it.
The rich are indifferent to the suffering of the masses, just as the masses are indifferent to the suffering of the beggars. And many beggars are oblivious to the sadness and loneliness of the sick, just as the sick are oblivious to the dead.
We live in a world where there are worlds within worlds.
Where people’s pain and darkness are felt and understood by only them. There is a degree of sadness in the world enough to kill anybody or to kill any beast.
There are people so tired of trying fruitlessly that the only joy they can imagine is in death.
All the light they see is at the end of the tunnel. All the joy they envision is in the afterlife.
All laws be damned, all systems be damned, and all beliefs be damned, people are just not good to each other. They fain care and affection if they do.
We do not need another Theresa, or Jesus, or Mandela, we just need people humbled by their shared mortality. People striving each day to love a little bit more – forgiving and accepting forgiveness in return – a world of ordinary people, living ordinary lives – all soon to die and rest in everlasting peace.
WHY HAPPY PEOPLE KILL THEMSELVES
We all have a sort of internal “thermostat”.
We adjust our “tolerance”. We adapt to different conditions and requirements.
This is why there are happy people in the most impoverished villages in the world despite the hunger, disease, dehumanization, and grave injustices that are doled to them every second of the day […] whilst the kid who lives in tiled apartments with an air conditioner, and who gets to eat three-course meal thrice daily still manages to whine about the PS5.
When someone considers something “unbearable” it literally becomes “unbearable” even if it is, in fact, bearable – our perception is our reality.
In essence, suicide is linked with an individual’s internal thermostat; how well they adjust to the little uncertainties and chaos that sip into their lives […]
Hence, people who have gone through difficult times usually emerge more resilient […]
After such experiences their thermostats are pushed to above “average”, and they find it amusing (and a little annoying) that those whose life has been “rainbows and snowflakes” easily get outraged about puny things – like slow internet, or a scratch.
When someone has been able to survive the ruthlessness of nature – to feel the hunger, the cold or the thick darkness of the night, they become more appreciative of the order and little control they have in this world – they appreciate the life they have, every breath of it.
In essence, people kill themselves when the shock or disruptiveness of events supersede their thermostatic limits. When they experience extreme degrees of pain when they lose too much control, and see less hope than they are used to when the shock from the event exceeds their expectations; when their sources of hope run dry and they thirst for hope – when their God(s), family, lovers, body, money, health, government, etcetera, fails them and they are faced with the uncomfortable truth (that life and nature may be apathetic to them)…
So, they are left with nothing, but the unsavory state of affairs, most times with no one to understand nor empathize. And how can they empathize when they are all caught up in their worlds?
Again, all laws, systems, and beliefs be damned, people should care for one another, because we need one another.
If there is a chance of being resilient in the face of hopelessness and powerlessness, it is by restoring meaning, hope, and power.
HOW TO OVERCOME SUICIDAL THOUGHTS OR ASSIST OTHERS TO DO SO
The first step in overcoming suicidal thoughts is to restore hope.
Restoring hope can be as simple as telling yourself or the suicidal person that “everything is going to be okay” even if you have no idea “how” or “when”, because things being okay is simply a matter of perception, and there would always be something worth appreciating or living for; though it may not be about oneself, there would always something to live for – something worth it.
“When there is life there is hope” is perhaps the truest saying ever. We have to look past the bleakness of things.
Nobody may know how or when […] but if one keeps trying, one would keep finding light in the darkness. It may not be much light, but it would sure beat the darkness.
One can always live for another purpose – we can always manage our focus. One can let go of what cannot be recovered or changed. One can be alive and happy again; because even a seemingly happy person thrives on a certain level of sustained ignorance, or acceptance of unkind fates, for no life is perfect – not one.
Restoring hope and control can be as simple as:
- Starting a new venture
- Moving to a new place
- Quitting an overbearing job
- Ending a draining relationship
- Reading some new books
- Giving yourself time to heal
- Just to mention a few.
For me, success in dislodging suicidal thoughts came when I got the opportunity to express my repressed feelings and thoughts in an “environment” that didn’t judge me… It involved appreciating myself wholly … It involved accepting my human nature completely (flaws and perks included).
Winning in this game of life doesn’t require denial, but rather acceptance.
We must learn to accept loss, pain, and lack. We must learn to accept the callous nature of things – our lowest levels, our weakness, and then strive to grow from there.
Disaster, or pain, or whatever it maybe is not personal – it doesn’t and would not happen to us alone. Hence, the best we can do is fight the evil. End the pain, remove the menace, become better, and overcome the darkness.
A major theme with those who actually go through the act of suicide is that they complained of being a burden to the people around them. This is why it is important to consider the environment fanning unhealthy thoughts. These environments may be mental or physical – whatever the case, it must be demolished or escaped from.
Often, people are drowned by thoughts spawned from the wishes and expectations of others. Most times we internalize what others think and then make such demands of ourselves.
And most times, the unrealistic demands of our environments, when in contact with our shortcomings, fan flames of insecurities within us, causing us to strive to meet goals and expectations that are not even necessary or worth it.
We must learn to accept our weaknesses and the banal state of everything. It is not in our nature to be flawless or perfect. What is rather in our nature is growth – growth from the lowest points.
Growth from the weakness, pain, lack, or whatever it is that troubles us.
We must learn to trust what is true and natural. And that is the fact that we can all emerge better versions of ourselves. That we can heal. That we can improve. That we can make it. That everything would be okay someday, even if we don’t know “how” or “when”. We must learn to take things one step at a time, not demanding too much too soon, yet demanding better each step upwards.
We must learn to intently purge our lives of everything that feeds our minds with unrealistic expectations or makes us feel unworthy. It is okay to be audacious, but it is not okay to demand it instantly – good things take time and require handwork.
We should cherish our humble lives and the people in them.
We should appreciate those who care, no matter how little. We shouldn’t push them away, nor hide from them. We should look for them just as they are looking for us because we need each other in this world – they may not be family or the same race, but they are excellent; they are good people.
All laws, systems, and beliefs be damned, let us love one another
Let us ask the ones feeling sad “what’s wrong?”. Let’s buy them ice-cream and cheer them up, and even if we can’t solve their problem, at least let’s be the moonlight in their dark nights. Let’s be there for them. Let’s moan with them, lets tell them that it would all be okay, someday and somehow.
A PROBLEM WITH THE MIND – disillusioning yourself
Suicide is the ultimate escape. But if we truly consider it an escape, what do we have to say about the rotting corpse?
You see, we humans consider ourselves to be more than lumps of flesh on bones; we like to think of ourselves in a metaphysical sense (without even realizing it). We consider ourselves consciousnesses wearing bodies, hence, we care about what people think of us (the personality, the image – the consciousness).
This is why someone can say that they did so and so in their dreams, yet “they” were actually lying still on a soft bed.
When we talk about the “escape”, it is in a metaphorical sense and it is that metaphysical self that tries to escape and leave the body behind.
The metaphysical self doesn’t believe it is bound by time, space, or matter. It is that part of us that gets transported by stories into fantasy worlds, wanders in dreams, and gets lost in imaginations. It is that part of us that can still feel an amputated limb. It is that part of us that makes us “individuals” with different “personalities”. It is what makes us feel different from the cattle that chew hay placidly on the farmyard.
Thus, in order not to be fooled into killing ourselves (in an attempt to free the metaphysical self), it is crucial that we understand that we are our body and our body is us because the not-so-sexy discovery is that our metaphysical self is simply the side effect of our physical bodies – as far as we know it. It is simply brought about by the complex chemical and electrical processes and interactions in our bodies (especially within the brain) …
It is therefore not so surprising that electric shocks are used to treat extreme cases of depression and at one time (in history) doctors used a surgical process known as “frontal lobotomy” – which involved drilling a hole through people’s skull and scraping the “frontal” of their brains – to aid patients come out of despair. Though, this procedure was abruptly banned because it turned people into morons, as they stopped caring or worrying about everything – just like the placid cows in the farmyard.
Note that they didn’t run mad, but simply lost the will to control anything. They lived aimlessly, taking life as it comes without concern about family, or work, or even themselves – they became emotionless robots.
Hence, in a way, our emotional crises are indicators that we are functional human beings.
Also, consider when we fall ill and our tongues go bitter, when we can’t stare at the sun because our pupils hurt, consider then what makes “us” all of a sudden uninterested in food, or sex or fame or whatever it is that “we” have always craved.
All we are are complex machines.
Consider again the rare case of people with split brains, how they exhibit dual “personality” and different perceptions of the world simultaneously.
Also consider the people who get drunk (if you haven’t been drunk before), how all of a sudden there is a “new” side to “them”. A part that doesn’t mind doing the craziest of things.
When chemicals and impulses interact in complex ways, a metaphysical self is produced.
Thus, it is wise to resist the temptation to escape (by killing the body) because we never really escape…
In conclusion, dying is not regaining control, but throwing away any chance of regaining it – forever.
DIE NOW OR TOMORROW
At the peak of my despair, the counter-intuitive idea that changed my mind about suicide was the phrase “life is too short to kill yourself, you would be dead soon enough”.
This statement is what I’ll call an “uplifting cynicism” because even though it just informed me that I was soon going to die, it simultaneously obliterated the need to do it “now”. This is because if I was soon going to die (and “escape”) what was the point of doing it “now” and risk breaking the hearts of the people who care about me, and also completely miss the chance of trying again tomorrow: A day which I do not know if it’s going to be filled with much joy and happiness…
This is why people get heartbroken, and even mad at those who give up: even though it is their lives. There are people who need us, who we give hope by simply being alive.
Countless people are waiting for us to succeed and be a helper or guide to them in their darkest nights – people we may be yet to know or know already.
Why end it when we can still fight and maybe win and inspire? When we can still rebuild and become better; when there is still tomorrow.
“When there is life, there is hope”.
All laws, ideas, and beliefs be damned, a life filled with loving people is enough.
Strive, and when you succeed, as you would, tell your story and help another in despair.
I went from being an uninteresting and detestable teenager to being an admired Artist and Writer.
I’m definitely not the best – far from it even, but I’ve inspired many with my little effort […] my writing has inspired many just as I hope it does you too […] my art too has put joy and laughter in the mouths and hearts of many.
I have become a source of inspiration and my life has never been better, all because I decided not to “escape”. Again, I’m far from the best, but I’m better, and you might already be better than me, or maybe lesser, but it matters not. Try.
You can do more than you think. You are more than you think. And I hope that one day, you’ll see that too…
And always remember: the first step to attaining lasting happiness in life is to realize and accept that you cannot be happy all the time, and that it is okay.
Your life is your life. Live it. The world waits to delight in you.
PEOPLE WHO ALMOST COMMITTED SUICIDE
J.K Rowling: The Author of the Harry Porter Series, once suffered immense depression and thought of killing herself after separating from her first husband. However, she sought professional help and was prescribed cognitive behavioral therapy, which uses counseling to help patients control negative thoughts.
She said: “Mid-twenties life circumstances were poor and I really plummeted. The thing that made me go for help was probably my daughter. She was something that earthed me, grounded me, and I thought, this isn’t right, this can’t be right, she cannot grow up with me in this state”.
She added: “we’re talking suicidal thoughts here, we’re not talking ‘I’m a little bit miserable’.”
Today she lives happily with her husband and has sold over 400 million copies of her novels worldwide, spawning a seven billion euros industry in the process.
She was happy to discuss her depression to challenge the stigma associated with the condition.
Elvita Adams: after surviving an attempted suicide, Adams said she had journeyed from the Bronx to Manhattan to look at the city lights. “They were so pretty, I wanted to reach out and touch them,” she said. Before heading over to the 86th floor of the empire state building to take her own life.
According to her, she had lost her job and was living off welfare checks which were not sufficient to pay her rent and take care of her 10-year-old son. With many people jumping to their deaths from the top floor of the famous New York City skyscraper, Adams perhaps felt that choosing the same building with a roof height of 1,250 feet was a great idea for suicide. However […]
On that evening of December 2nd, 1979, when she climbed up the building, then over the fence that surrounded the observational platform on the 86th floor, she gazed down and with one bold step, jumped off the building, but in a miracle of probability itself, a strong wind gust blew Adams’ body back into the building, slamming her on a two-and-a-half-foot ledge on the 85th floor – fracturing her pelvic.
Her luck was beyond “absorb”. And after that day she realized that just like all the previous days of her life, as long as there was life there was hope.
- Start a gratitude journal: list out the things you are grateful for. Write out the names of the people you care about, the good things within your environment (power supply, food, peace, etcetera). Make a list of the thing you love most, the things you enjoy, then go out and experience them. Take your time to appreciate them, maybe even discover something new.
- Talk to people: Talking to the people you care about serves as a release. It lightens the burden, especially when the people are warm, unjudgmental and understanding.
- Give yourself time: It doesn’t go away instantly. Give yourself time to purge the dark imaginings. And when it’s time, you would see the light.
- Find something worthwhile: it helps to give yourself entirely to something productive – like writing, singing, sewing, coding, or whatever it is that you do and are passionate about. Something that you’ve seen yourself sometimes getting lost in, something that you enjoy doing, and that gives you a sense of accomplishment.
- Learn something new: Maybe reading, or enrolling in a course to learn about something that has interested you before.
- Seek professional help: Get help. Find someone who has the experience and can offer vital help in this situation. The effect may not be instant, but professionals can help uncover the hidden sources of the “unhealthy” thoughts, and help you uproot them completely.